Social Media Hub

Social media has changed the way people communicate and consume information.

Increasingly, government agencies are integrating social media into their communication strategies to increase the effectiveness of the communications and to reach people in the most appropriate and cost effective way.

Government agencies are encouraged to consider using social media and other new digital channels based on a clear definition of the target audience and the nature of the message. Social media, like radio, TV and Press are not “one size fits all” and all media chosen should be based on the specific objectives of each activity.

In addition, before embarking on any social media activity it should be full considered that in many cases, social media activity is a “two-way” medium and in the 24/7 arena of the world wide web, a customer or client is just as likely to post a comment on Facebook on a Sunday afternoon as during normal working hours. In broad terms, investment in social media activity can be labour intensive and require constant attention. Conversely, social media often offer opportunities for interaction and feedback beyond what has been previously possible.   

With over 100 separate significant social media platforms existing, it is hard to generalise about their characteristics, but the following criteria exist:

  • Communicating Content - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow users to network and share images, video and online articles
  • Broadcasting and publishing images - YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest allow users to share videos and photos
  • Opinion - Wordpress, Blogger and Tumblr allow users to build weblogs
  • Working collaboratively
    • Wikis allow users to generate and collaborate on producing information
    • Forums and discussion boards allow users to communicate with each other.

Find out more in the overview of major social media channels below.


Facebook is the largest social networking site with over 1 billion (and growing) monthly active users. The site allows people to create personal profiles, groups and organisational pages. Users can share content, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

Why use Facebook?

Facebook provides a space for sharing your agency’s content. It also allows you to build up a following around campaigns and activities. Through Facebook you can interact with your audience and listen to the conversations happening around your activities.

How to use Facebook

You can set up personal profiles, pages or groups within Facebook. Pages and groups differ across privacy, audience and communication issues. Agencies generally use pages because they foster communication with people who like them.

Groups allow small groups of people to communicate shared interests within a closed space. Anyone can create a group.

Facebook can help your agency:

  • Share articles, blog posts, expertise, images and videos
  • Ask questions and start discussions to foster interaction
  • Promote campaigns, events and activities
  • Create surveys and polls to encourage visitor participation and gauge what your audience likes, wants or needs
  • Share and comment on other related posts to foster community

Who’s using Facebook?

With so many active users, it’s no wonder many agencies are already using Facebook as a communications tool. Take a look at who’s doing what in NSW Government.

Getting started

  • You first need to set up a personal account with Facebook
  • Create a page by following Facebook’s instructions
  • Learn how to set up a group.


Twitter is a micro blogging site that allows members to broadcast ‘tweets’ or short messages through status updates. Users can also broadcast other online content, such as articles, videos and pictures; they can follow people and organisations or # hashtags denoting a certain topic of interest.

Why use Twitter?

Twitter provides a good tool for engaging a large amount of people in a targeted way. Like Facebook, Twitter provides a good channel for promoting your agency’s campaigns, photos and activities. As it is a micro blogging site tweets are limited to 140 characters so your updates must be brief and targeted.

How to use Twitter

Twitter can help your agency:

  • Share articles, blog posts, expertise, images and videos
  • Ask questions and start discussions to foster interaction
  • Answer questions from your customers
  • Promote campaigns, events and activities
  • Link back to your corporate website, or anything else on the web you think might beuseful for your customers
  • Retweet and comment on other posts to foster community engagement

Who’s using it?

Many agencies are using Twitter. Take a look at who’s doing what in NSW Government.

Getting started


YouTube is a video-sharing website where users upload, view and share videos. Since Google bought YouTube, the video sharing site is now touted as the world’s second most used search engine after Google.

Why use YouTube? People love watching video online and YouTube is the largest global video sharing site. Uploading video to YouTube means you can capture large audiences. According to YouTube’s latest statistics the site had more than 1 trillion views (around 140 views for every person on Earth) in 2011.

How to use YouTube

Besides uploading videos, you can also create a channel. A channel is like a home page for showcasing your videos, activities and other people’s videos on YouTube that may relate to your organisation’s content.

YouTube can help your agency:

  • Spread your messages virally
  • Improve exposure through views and having your content appear in Google searches
  • Foster interactivity by encouraging users to share and comment on your videos
  • Integrate videos into other online channels
  • Drive traffic back to your website

Who’s using YouTube?

Agencies have been using YouTube to distribute video content. Take a look at who’s doing what in NSW Government.

Getting started


LinkedIn is the largest professional social networking site with over 225 million members. Professionals use LinkedIn to access jobs, updates, news and information to help in their professional life.

Why use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn lets you build professional relationships with people who are interested in what your agency does.

How to use LinkedIn

You can set up pages or groups to communicate your agency’s messages with targeted audiences. LinkedIn’s status feature also lets you broadcast messages in a similar way to other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn can help your agency:

  • Establish itself as a thought leader in a particular industry by providing good content and answering questions
  • Boost its network and contacts
  • Form groups around related issues
  • Build traffic by providing links to content on your website
  • Sharing yours and other related content.

Who’s using LinkedIn?

The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s strategic communications team runs a NSW Communications Practitioners LinkedIn group to discuss communications, share ideas and network. If you work in communications for the NSW government and would like to join, please visit our Linkedin group.

Getting started


Flickr is one of the first photo sharing sites to take off online. Besides sharing images, users can now also share videos, set up slideshows, organise images into collections, and integrate content into other social sites like Facebook and blogging platforms.

Why use Flickr?

If your agency generates great images, Flickr provides a good way to distribute, share and promote this content.

Flickr can also help your agency:

  • Tell stories through slideshows
  • Foster community by encouraging comments and shares on your photos
  • Generate links back to your site
  • Build contacts with other agencies, or related entities, sharing content on Flickr
  • Integrate with your other social platforms

How to use Flickr

Flickr provides three types of accounts based on storage and funding options. Besides uploading and organising photos, you can assign different rights, private and public access plus guest passes for people without accounts who want to access your private content. You can also create and join groups to promote your content to wider audiences.

Who’s using Flickr?

There are many agencies using Flickr to promote their content. Some agencies are even using Flickr as a photo management tool. See who’s doing what in NSW Government.

Getting started